The 17th edition of Mezipatra festival featured a total of 64 queer themed films. The Prague part of the festival was attended by 7.000 visitors and guests from eight different countries. What movies scored as the best? The Main Jury Award went to The Ornithologist by Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues, the prize for the best short film had been awarded to Norwegian Thanks for Dancing. Based on the votes of the audience, the number one movie was Conor Gorgan's documentary TheQueen of Ireland.
Winner of the main award
The Main Jury Award for the Best Feature Film has been awarded to The Ornithologist (O Ornitólogo) by the acclaimed director João Pedro Rodrigues. Created in Portuguese-French-Brazilian co-production, the film is a visionary and cinematically breathtaking essay mapping the unusual journey of ornithologist Fernando through wild Portuguese nature. It utilizes homoerotic elements as well as Catholic symbolism and references to the lives of saints.
The jury, which consisted of Šárka Gmiterková, a film publicist and a doctoral student at the Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University in Brno, Canadian director and photographer Bruce LaBruce, and Karel Och, the artistic director of Karlovy Vary IFF, has awarded the prize to the film for “its daring conflation of sexual fetish and spiritual transcendence, for its visually striking depiction of nature expressed as one of the crucial characters of the film, and for its complex and innovative film style combined with an unexpected sense of ironic humor.”
The selection was completed by seven blocks of short films. The best ones have been chosen by a student jury consisting of the artist, curator and publicist Markéta Garai (AVU), a member of Prague Pride marketing and PR team Matouš Harman (Faculty of Arts, Charles University), and Piaoyu Xie (FAMU), a director, writer, translator, photographer and visual artist.
The award for the Best Short Film has been awarded to Thanks for Dancing (Takk for turen) by Norwegian Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken, which enchanted the jury with “its tenderness and subtlety. Its portrayal of a relationship of two men who have had a long and happy life together and are now facing the fact that one of them will soon pass away is truly exceptional.” The trio appreciated the film's easy flow, the visual side, the narrative approach and performances of both main actors, Stein Winge and Jan Malmsjö.
Special Mention has been awarded to Raniya by Danish Sidsel Møller Johnsen, which captivated the student jury with its unique atmosphere and aesthetic qualities. “The authentic depiction of the main protagonist's inner world as she experiences her first love draws the viewers into the story and imprints its emotions on them. Enthralled by the charming shots and smooth narrative style, we do not even realize that the footage is slightly over the limit of short films,” the jury agreed.
The audience voted Conor Hogan's The Queen of Ireland as the best film of 2016. It is a portrayal of Panti Bliss, a charismatic and successful drag queen from Ireland, who became well-known all over the world during last year's referendum about marriage equality. The film shows the heroine not only as a star of the show business, but also as an activist that contributed to some of the major changes within the queer community. The winner of the prize was announced on November 18th at the closing ceremony of the Brno part of the festival.